Five Tips for Success in Today’s Multigenerational Workplace

Posted by The Jacobson Group

With older workers delaying retirement and younger talent quickly becoming a substantial portion of the labor pool, how can you engage multi-generational teams and set them up for successful working relationships? In our recent issue of Compass, Judy Busby, senior vice president of executive search and corporate strategy, and Rachel McColister, client advisor, offer insights into building a culture that focuses on connecting members of each generation and leveraging their unique attributes. Below are five key takeaways from their feature article, "Embracing Multigenerational Dynamics in Today’s Workplace."

Five Tips for Success in Today’s Multigenerational Workplace1. View generational commonalities as guidelines, not absolutes. 
While generational variances often serve as a starting point for understanding colleagues' behaviors and preferences, it's important to acknowledge that individuals are shaped by a multitude of factors beyond their generational affiliations. Life stages, values, work styles, personality types and much more influence individuals’ preferences and behaviors at work.

2. Promote cross-generational engagement. 
Encouraging interactions among team members of all generations can help dissolve any existing biases and stereotypes, while enhancing collaboration. Whether through buddy pairings, informal get-to-know-you meetings or cross-generational project groups, intentionally promoting these interactions allows individuals to better understand each other’s unique strengths and enhances overall team synergy.

3. Support mentorship opportunities.
Formal mentorship programs are another effective way to facilitate connections and knowledge-sharing among employees of different age groups and life stages. By providing the space and support for mentoring relationships – especially ones that are multi-tiered and multigenerational – organizations can further break down barriers, avoid misunderstandings, and foster a sense of community and camaraderie.

4. Alleviate tensions through a culture of curiosity and open-minded communication.
Tensions often arise in workplaces spanning multiple generations, fueled by assumptions, lack of perspective and generational stereotypes. Encourage team members to strive to better understand different viewpoints and find common ground by asking questions such as “can you help me understand why?” and “can you tell me more?”

5. Determine what energizes each individual.
Especially for younger generations, desired career growth and movement may not always follow a traditional linear path. It's crucial to delve into what drives each employee and empower them to thrive in their own way. Understand their values, motivators and career aspirations to tailor opportunities accordingly.

By celebrating the collective strengths of all employees, no matter their life stage, teams will be equipped to better navigate multigenerational divides and foster strong working relationships rooted in mutual respect and understanding. View the full article for additional ways to reduce generational friction and enable your teams to best work together in today’s environment. 

For more talent insights, delivered to your inbox each quarter, subscribe to our Compass newsletter.